Things are going well for garden centres in the UK, and the atmosphere in the British sector is more optimistic than that in sectors elsewhere in Europe. Interesting in this respect is that recommendations that resulted from recent Dutch research into Shopping Areas of the Future* are already in effect in British retail:
- Focus on Food and Catering
Food is much less susceptible to fluctuations in turnover than non-food.
Food Halls are becoming increasingly popular in British garden centres. Bents Garden Centre in Glazebury, for example, now has a comprehensive Food Hall selling meat, cheese, wine and fresh vegetables. ‘Daytime businesses’ in the catering industry, such as lunchrooms and coffee corners, are likewise becoming ever more successful, and such a concept can also be effectively incorporated in a garden centre’s catering strategy.
- Go for a multichannel formula
It’s important for garden centres to go for a multichannel formula that supports individual shopping behaviour by means of information, communication and technology. Garden centres in the UK for example organise communities of hobby gardeners or offer ‘Click and Collect’ services such as that of Longacres Garden Centre.
- Create experiences in your garden centre
Because of all the technological advances in recent years we have become accustomed to more impulses and we tend to get bored sooner. So ‘experience’ is the magic word in many shopping formulas. Creativity ensures more customers and pleasant memories of visits to shops. There are many ways in which the ‘experience factor’ can be exploited in garden centres. One possibility is to offer multiple functions such as leisure and pet care.
The ‘garden centre of the future’ of course implies different requirements concerning its design and layout. Make an appointment with Ben Boon or Ferry Breugem to discuss this at the IPM in Essen or the Retail Experience in Boskoop.
(an initiative of Detailhandel Nederland, Platform31 and the G32-stedennetwerk)